Key differences between system and acceptance testing in the software testing process

System and acceptance testing in the software testing process
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The software development life cycle consists of steps, each accompanied by software testing to eliminate bugs and defects at every stage. This helps to treat problems early enough to prevent them from becoming more significant problems later. 

System and acceptance testing are two types of software testing that aim to verify that the product works correctly and satisfies the project’s built-in requirements. Both are performed at the application testing phase after the complete development of the product. Usually, system testing comes first; then, acceptance testing is performed just before the beta and alpha release of the software.

While they may be similar in that they are performed in the application testing phase, they have some significant differences. This article sheds some light on the critical differences between system and acceptance testing in the software testing process.

System Testing: What It Entails

System testing is a type of software testing that validates the fully integrated hardware and software meets the specified requirements and satisfies the project’s goals. It can be performed through software testing automation or manual testing to check that there are no irregularities in the integration of the subsystems within the system. The purpose of system testing is to evaluate end-to-end specifications.

System testing is referred to as black box testing because the tester executes it from a user’s perspective. They do not need to have specialized code design or structure knowledge to perform the test. There are different testing techniques for system testing, including functional testing, GUI testing, security testing, performance testing, and usability testing.


  • The tester does not need to have high-level programming skills to execute the testing.
  • It evaluates the entire product for errors and defect that slips through unit testing and integration testing.
  • It covers all possible bugs and leads to acceptance testing.


  • It can be time-consuming because it checks the entire product
  • It requires an excellent debugging tool.

Acceptance Testing: What It Entails

Acceptance testing checks that the software complies with the business requirements and checks acceptability from a user’s perspective. In this case, the testers are end users who check if the software will work as expected in real-life scenarios. It is performed after the system testing.

Acceptance testing is also a black-box testing because it doesn’t require knowledge about the internal implementation of the code. The different types of acceptance testing include user acceptance testing, business acceptance testing, operations acceptance testing, alpha testing, and betting testing.


  • It helps the developers to know if there are additional requirements from the users.
  • You can use software testing automation to automate it easily.
  • Users’ feedback can help you know how best to deliver the project’s objectives.


  • Users have no idea about the product or application
  • The feedback may be too long because you have to collate the test results from many users. Also, the opinion about the tests may differ

Key differences between system and acceptance testing 

As stated earlier, system and acceptance testing are black-box testing procedures with the same goal of improving the overall quality of the product. Here are some of the differences between both types of software testing.

Purpose of Testing 

The purpose of system testing is to ensure that the integration of the individual components in the system is bug-free and is working as expected. It verifies that the software can handle the workload in a production environment. In contrast, acceptance testing aims to check if the product is ready for deployment and use in a production environment. It helps the developers to find faults and gaps in the software. 


The developers and a team of testers perform system testing. It includes functional and non-functional testing. On the other hand, acceptance testing is fully functional testing and is done by the end users, clients, and other stakeholders in the project. 

The Focus of Testing 

System testing focuses on the technical aspects of the product, including regression, reliability, compatibility, security, performance, and other parts of the products. In comparison, acceptance testing is about checking if the product meets business requirements and if the product is what the customer wants.


System testing comes after the complete assembly of the product. However, acceptance testing is done after system testing, before the product release.


The testers and developers employ demo or mocked data in system testing. They use dummy input as the variables in the software testing. On the contrary, acceptance testing employs real-time input values from the production data.

Test Coverage

System testing involves module basis testing and integration testing with other modules. In contrast, acceptance testing involves alpha and beta testing on the delivery and client sides of the product.


The developers will promptly fix bugs or defects found during system testing. However, the project will be considered a failure if the users, stakeholders, or clients find defects during the acceptance testing.

The content published on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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